Archive for July, 2013

Moving Day: Tamayo’s El Hombre Finds a New Home

After many years at the Museum’s Ross Avenue Entrance, Rufino Tamayo’s iconic mural El Hombre (Man) is returning to the Atrium, where it was first hung when the Museum’s Hamon Building opened in 1993.

Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre (Man) being de-installed from the Ross Avenue entrance (left) and the rehanging in the DMA Atrium (right).

Rufino Tamayo’s El Hombre (Man) being de-installed from the Ross Avenue Entrance (left) and the rehanging in the  Atrium (right).

Tamayo, born of Zapotec heritage in Oaxaca, Mexico, was one of the most prominent Mexican artists of the mid-1900s, and a contemporary of Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco. His mural has long been viewed as one of the DMA’s most important works. The tumultuous story behind it, however, inspires further appreciation.

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1950s. Dallas Museum of Art Archives

Rufino Tamayo was a good friend of Stanley Marcus, then the president of the Dallas Art Association. In 1951, while on a trip to Amarillo, Tamayo and his wife, Olga, planned to drive to Dallas to visit the Marcus family, letting them know that they would arrive at 5:30 that evening. At 10:30 that night the Tamayos finally arrived, looking disheveled and disillusioned. When Marcus asked them about the delay, Tamayo told him about a car accident they were involved in, in which a local from Amarillo driving a pickup truck ran into them from behind. When the police arrived, it was determined that Tamayo was at fault for the accident, despite his claims and that the evidence suggested otherwise. Because of this unsettling experience, Tamayo told Marcus he would never produce art for the United States. By coincidence, Marcus had for some time wanted to secure Mexican art for the Museum to showcase the significant cultural contributions of the country’s artists, and he offered to commission a large-scale mural from Tamayo. Despite the Museum having only enough funds  to pay one-third the normal price of his work, Tamayo accepted the commission as “a real gift of the heart from Mr. Tamayo to the museum.” He chose to focus his subject on the aspirations and potential of mankind.

Tamayo painting El Hombre (Man)

Rufino Tamayo at work, 1950s. Dallas Museum of Art Archives

When Tamayo completed El Hombre in the summer of 1952, he briefly showed it in Mexico City before shipping it by train to Dallas. Months later, however, the painting still had not arrived at the Museum. The search for the missing mural went on for over a year, when finally the stationmaster from a train station on the Mexico-Texas border called Marcus to inform him that they had found a large package addressed to him. The boxcar that the package had been traveling in had been shunted off the track on a spur, and had been sitting out in the elements all year*. Fortunately, when the mural finally arrived in Dallas in September 1953, it was found to be in surprisingly good condition, and El Hombre was put in a place of honor so that every visitor to the Museum would see Tamayo’s depiction of Mexican culture.

El Hombre (Man), comprised of three panels, in transit to its new home.

El Hombre (Man), which comprises three panels, in transit to its new home.

DMA staff vacuuming the Atrium wall in preparation for Tamayo’s painting.

DMA staff vacuuming the Atrium wall in preparation for Tamayo’s painting.

This week, on its journey down the Concourse to the Atrium, Tamayo’s El Hombre traveled much more safely this time around. Be sure to stop by the Atrium on your next visit to see this iconic work for free.

El Hombre (Man) in the DMA Atrium

El Hombre (Man) in the DMA Atrium

* [update August 2017] The source of this story is an oral history with Stanley Marcus, interviewed by Director Jay Gates October 27, 1994. However, documentation of the arrival of El Hombre at the Museum shows that the painting was only delayed by three and a half weeks, likely by flooding in areas along the railway. El Hombre was shown in Mexico City in August 1953, shipped from Mexico on August 17, 1953 and arrived in Dallas on September 9, 1953.

Jasmine Shevell is the Exhibitions & Publications Intern at the DMA.

Need some Available Space?

If you haven’t been to the Museum in a while, you’re missing out! In our Barrel Vault and surrounding galleries, we recently launched DallasSITES: Available Space in connection with the exhibition DallasSITES: Charting Contemporary Art, 1963 to Present. The project space features select artists, curators, collectives, and art educators from the community programming unique and innovative projects, including The Art FoundationHOMECOMING!Oil and CottonPerformanceSWDallasVideoFest, and Brookhaven College.

I have had the opportunity to help coordinate the Oil and Cotton space, where you can exercise your creative side with a hands-on activity almost every hour of the day (and you can find more hands-on making at the Center for Creative Connections or the Pop-Up Art Spot)! Check out some pictures from the activities we’ve done so far:

Life Casting with Nick Hutchings

Life Casting with Nick Hutchings

Drop in and Paint with Chong Chu and students from Brookhaven College

Drop in and Paint with Chong Chu and students from Brookhaven College

Kids Class with Jessica Sinks

Kids Class with Jessica Sinks

Life Drawing Course

Life Drawing Course

Hurry and stop by to experience this space–it’s only here until August 18th!

To see more photos from our programs CLICK HERE!

And for a complete schedule of Available Space programming CLICK HERE!

Amanda Batson
C3 Program Coordinator

Celebrating New Citizenship at the DMA

Today we were honored to host 48 individuals, and their families, as they were sworn in as American citizens at the DMA’s first naturalization ceremony. We wanted to share a few moments from today’s special event, which included a tour of the DMA’s American Art collection.


Oil and Cotton’s Use of Available Space

If you’ve stopped by the DMA’s Barrel Vault you have seen the Museum’s first experimental space, DallasSITES: Available Space, with art installations and programming from area artists, collectives, and educators. Oil and Cotton, located in Oak Cliff, has an interactive project room where visitors can participate in free workshops and drop-in activities. We caught up with their co-founders to see how the first week has gone:


DMA: What does it mean to Oil and Cotton to be involved in the DMA’s first experimental space, DallasSITES: Available Space?
Oil and Cotton: It is a huge honor for us to be exhibiting in DallasSITES: Available Space. It feels great to be recognized by our peers, whom we respect so much. And it is validating to be seen for exactly what we are – an artwork that serves through education.

DMA: What can visitors expect in the Oil and Cotton project room?
O + C: They can expect to use it however they see best. We mean for it to be inviting for all ages at all levels of experience. I had a great conversation with a teenage boy from Oklahoma over the weekend. He was with a tour group who were feeling a bit out of place, insecure, and self-conscious. The other teens were teasing each other about not being able to make art (translation: I don’t belong here.) He leaned towards me and subtly gestured to the open weave bulb baskets that had been made earlier by a class, and whispered that he thought they might be good for catching fish in a river. EXACTLY! We got into a conversation about knotting and netting, using hog gut, and then he made the bold decision to ask me to show him how to weave. In that moment, he belonged. That is the essence of our educational mission.
o+c option

DMA: What was the opening like for your organization last Friday during Late Night? Did you anticipate the crowds?
O + C: Um no. It was utterly insane in a fantastic way. We naively set up drawing activities, thinking for the first night, we’d keep it simple. Before we knew it, the whole place was blowing up with weaving, sculpting, collage, sewing, you name it. All ages, including artists, curators, and toddlers, were working side by side at a huge table covered in donated supplies.  I heard someone comment that he couldn’t tell where the exhibition ended and the education began. Yippee!

DMA: Have you seen anything that may inspire your own practice back at your studio in Oak Cliff?
O + C: Absolutely. More collaboration, more getting out there and serving more people, and more autonomy. It is so exciting to meet people who have never heard of us and hear from them what they might want to contribute.

DMA: What are the DMA visitors’ reactions to DallasSITES: Available Space and the Oil and Cotton area?

O + C: At first, people engage with the spectacle – thanks to our architect Esther Walker, who captured the feel of our place with her ingenuity and labor of love. Then they wander in and realize it is there for them. They seem to appreciate the options. Parents can make something or just sit and relax, teens can draw with nice materials in a studio, little kids can make forts and roll around in the “park” of leather hides and circle looms made by my daughter. And everyone is invited to hang work on the wall, participate in free classes, ask questions, and use the studio when the Museum is open.

DMA: Have you “met” your neighbors in the exhibition?

O + C: We borrowed a lot of cups of sugar during installation! We enjoyed watching Brandon Kennedy install his book collection and Homecoming! win the hardest working art collective in show business award. My daughter gave a sculpture to Jeffrey Grove (smart move honey!), we got to spend a whole lot of time getting to know the super accommodating DMA staff. It is so special for us all to inhabit the Museum, which has prior to this exhibit a bit of an untouchable space for local artists. Education is of course another story, as they are always reaching out into the community and providing opportunities for Dallas artists. But being in this exhibition, in the same galleries that housed Mark Bradford, Cindy Sherman, and Jim Hodges (!), is a new and exciting opportunity for us. It gives participants a sense of belonging to this city and being recognized for their merits. I hope this leads to more emerging and local artist exhibitions throughout the year. And even more, I hope it emboldens the Dallas art community to launch projects, push for press, and truly making a living as artists here.

We asked visitors to give us a sentence or two describing their personal experiences in the Oil and Cotton Project Room. See below:

“The Oil & Cotton project room was so inspiring and beautiful! I loved being able to bring in my late Gramma’s collection of yarn and contribute in some small way to it all. I know it would have made her absolutely giddy to see some of her supplies used at the DMA! I love how the O + C team created such a wonderful space where the community can come in, create something of their own or contribute to what is already there, and then leave completely inspired to do something at home.” -Jillian Ragsdale

“It’s a rare experience indeed to discover oneself a space that is both as warm and as energetic as the one that Oil and Cotton have crafted at the DMA. (In fact, perhaps its better, to discuss the many spaces within their own space, but that would constitute and essay rather than a few remarks.) I think that the installation works, however, because it is literally at work, engaged in the seriously playful business of supporting creative endeavor. Oil and Cotton’s DMA installation is neither solely gallery nor studio. Public as well as intimate, what Oil and Cotton offers at the DMA is a vital demonstration of how we might imagine not so much what but the combined how and why of what artists do, and what such doing means in terms of simply living, and living well for the sake of everyone.” -Joe Milazzo

“Oil and Cotton created a beautiful, active, yet peaceful space. It is a room I’d like to hang out in. I am so happy and impressed the DMA gave O&C a chance to express themselves freely.” -Kelly Mitchell

“The Oil and Cotton installation at the recent DMA DallasSites exhibition was breath of fresh air. Being able to create and stimulate ideas in a museum context surrounded by a strong artistic community was inspiring. I love the organic well thought out context that O&C provides for people of any age to engage and learn about art practices.” -Ariel Saldivar

“As I’ve come to expect from their continual efforts, Oil and Cotton has once again provided a space for creative exploration, enriched by the affection for detail and caring guidance and by the knowledge and warmth consistently demonstrated by the owners, Kayli and Shannon, as well as by the artists they choose to involve.” -Sally Glass

“I was blown away by the excitement of the Friday night opening of DallasSites. Oil and Cotton has always had a very sincere and authentic atmosphere in their Oak Cliff location, and that same feeling is evident in the DMA gallery space. I felt welcomed and energized by the design of the work space and the presence of everyone attending the Late Night” -Rachel Rushing

Friday Photos: I Love Art

Every first day at camp starts roughly the same: the kids enter the classroom and there is a brief introduction where the students state their name, school, and a couple of things about themselves. Each time, there are more than a handful of students that say, “I love art.” You’d think it might become redundant, but honestly, it is just the opposite. With every shy, “I love art,” you can feel the passion in the room increase that much more. I am surrounded everyday by aspiring artists who not only remind me of my younger self, but also prove that creativity is abundant in the next generation.

Many of the camps look at The Guitarist by Picasso because it correlates to many different lessons. I remember one specific time when the teacher had the students do a quick sketch of the painting. I was sitting on the floor, peering at all the obscure images of what these kids perceived. It didn’t matter what their final product looked like or how accurate it was to the original–what was special about each sketch was that it was a product of an eager little brain at work.

I’ve had amazing weeks at work, even though I can hardly call it work, and the worst part is on that last day of camp when I have to say, “Goodbye.”

Julia Dankberg
Summer Programs Intern

Jack and His Goat

Artist Jack Zajac discussing his sculpture, Small Bound Goat, with KERA’s Stephen Becker at the opening of Hotel Texas in May 2013.

Artist Jack Zajac discussing his sculpture, Small Bound Goat, with KERA’s Stephen Becker at the opening of Hotel Texas in May 2013

Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, currently on view at the DMA, brings together thirteen of the sixteen works that were installed in Suite 850 at the Hotel Texas for the Kennedys’ visit in 1963. The works of art included pieces by van Gogh, Picasso, Kline, and Monet and were drawn from Fort Worth’s public museums and private collections. Jack Zajac, an American artist whose bronze sculpture Small Bound Goat was displayed in the hotel suite’s living room, is the only living artist of the sixteen featured in the private art exhibition in 1963. Not until the DMA invited Zajac to the opening of the Hotel Texas exhibition did he learn that his work of art spent the night with the Kennedys. Find out from Zajac what it was like to discover his sculpture was on view in the Hotel Texas suite and how he feels about being reconnected with his work of art fifty years later:

Visit Zajac’s Small Bound Goat through September 15 in Hotel Texas and see it for free; the exhibition is included in free general admission to the Museum.

Creative Arts Center + VSA Texas

Creative Arts Center of Dallas

On Friday, July 12, Amanda Blake and I visited the Creative Arts Center of Dallas (CAC), a non-profit organization located on a two-acre campus near White Rock Lake. The CAC’s mission is to provide a “nurturing environment for people to discover, develop and express their artistic visions” through hands-on classes and workshops. The reason for our visit was to attend a training session hosted by VSA Texas, the state organization on arts and disability. VSA Texas is a member of the international network of VSA, a non-profit affiliate of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Based in Austin, VSA Texas works to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts.

The focus of the training session was learning how to create accessible artistic environments, be they classes or workshops, for people of all cognitive and developmental abilities. Amanda and I currently lead monthly art experiences for adults with developmental disabilities through our partnership with the ARC of Dallas. Each class includes a gallery discussion, an interactive component, and an art-making activity in the Art Studio. We hoped that this hands-on training with VSA Texas would increase our skill-set and provide us with new ideas that could be introduced into our Access programs. We were joined by artists who currently lead art classes at CAC, but only teach typically developing students. This training was meant to pave the way for CAC’s new ARTability program, which would provide a variety of art making classes to the Dallas disability community.


Oftentimes, people with disabilities have had little to no exposure to art; not as a child in school nor in their group or individual homes as adults. Celia Hughes and April Sullivan–VSA Texas Executive Director and Artworks Director respectively–led our training and explained that designing art-making opportunities for people with disabilities does not involve creating completely new lessons, but rather simplifying concepts and adapting artistic processes so that they are more accessible to a wider variety of developmental levels. “Take nothing for granted,” Hughes said, “break everything down into one step at a time.”

For example, the first step of an art lesson could be discussing paintbrushes: how to choose a brush and how to properly clean and take care of it. Though this concept could seem elementary to typically developing students, it is something that students with disabilities may have never encountered.

Hughes and Sullivan also explained that initial projects, for those just beginning to delve into art classes, should be based on perceivable concepts–something the student can physically see–rather than jumping into creating from imagination right away. This level of artistic freedom could be too much to handle for some beginning students, resulting in frustration.

A good inaugural lesson could be a simple collaged still-life: there is something concrete for the students to reference (a bowl of fruit), basic skills explored (tearing and gluing), and fundamental artistic concepts covered (composition). As a group, we completed all the steps involved in this collaged still-life lesson, all the while discussing the potential obstacles and teachable moments that could occur.

This training was an opportunity for community and museum educators to discuss the multitude of ways we can create accessible art making opportunities and engage people with disabilities. I think it also enabled us to reflect upon the importance of arts institutions bridging this artistic gap and providing access to high quality art education experiences to people of all abilities.

Danielle Schulz
Teaching Specialist

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,606 other followers


Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream